|Reader Comments on using FWB Backup Toolkit 3.02
for OS X|
(including using DVD-R)
Updated: 11/19/2001 with more user comments
Updated: 1/5/2002 for reader's alternative backup method
Updated: 1/6/2002 for note on updated FWB version/fixes for restore.
Updated: 2/24/2002 for more comments on Carbon Copy Cloner
This page has reader comments on FWB's Backup Toolkit version 3. (Note: some readers said that FWB backup for OS X is a licensed version of Tri-Backup.)
While I haven't tried it myself, FWB says that the latest version of
Backup Toolkit/Tri-Backup DOES let you do a complete OS X restore from a
backup. Take a look at this page:
(NOTE: as of 2005, links to FWB's pages removed as the domain name/original web site not online.)
Q. I am going to backup my Mac OS X volume, can BackUp ToolKit backup
and restore a bootable Mac OS X volume?
A. Yes! Version 3.0.4r1 can copy or restore a complete Mac OS X volume.
To copy, backup, or restore a Mac OS X volume, you need to run BackUp
ToolKit under Mac OS X, and have full permissions for all files.
Sorry to hear you won't be at Macworld....Keep your
eyes peeled for some cool stuff from us.
Asst. Product Manager
Retail Product Marketing
I'm the guy that wrote in about getting the wrong version of
BackupToolkit. It turns out that the $35 version is the old 2.2 version
and that the OSX version is more money. It was very misleading since
the 10% off coupon page only had a link to the old version. Digital
River was very good about fixing the problem and I had the correct
version the same night [around 2AM :-) ]
Since working with it I've been fairly pleased with it's operation
although as the other reader commented the UI could use some work. I am
concerned though after looking through the backup logs it gets quite a
few errors during backup.
Big X: Library: Preferences: DirectoryService:SearchNodeConfig.plist **ERR*
Big X: private: etc:kcpassword OK
Big X: private: etc:kern_loader.conf **ERR**
Big X: private: etc:master.passwd OK
Big X: private: etc:monthly **ERR**
Big X: private: tmp: 501: Temporary Items:Download Cache OK
Big X: private: tmp: 501: Temporary Items:IE Cache.lck OK
Big X: private: tmp:slp_ipc OK
Big X: private: var: backups:local.nidump OK
Big X: private: var: db:SystemEntropyCache OK
Just to show a few cases. There are many more. Is anyone else seeing
Since it does not run as root I wonder how it gets permission to read
some of the files it is backing up?
I've been using the Evolutive backup which for some reason does not give
the option to break the backup folder into 650MB chunks like Mirror
does. After running it for several days I've noticed also that its
backing up things that are not changing. For some reason it thinks that
everything involved with ProjectBuilder changes even though it never has
been run in between backups. This can waste a lot of space. There are
many others too. It would also be nice if it included some default
Overall it seems like it was a little rushed and the translation from
the original French version could be a little more polished. Since
there is no other real alternative out there I guess "Beggars can't be
If anyone else using this software sees errors like this or has a suggestion, let me know.
Another reader asks a question to users of this software:
Regarding the new FWB Backup app, I am curious to know if this app can
properly backup UNIX hard links, which is one of the main challenges that
Dantz is still working out. If you copy a hard link to a backup volume, and
then restore it to the original volume, it is no longer a link but becomes
an individual file. And of course, when the link gets broken, it no longer
points to the proper "orginal" file. By the way, a "man ln" from terminal
gives the following explanation of links:
"The ln utility creates a new directory entry (linked file) which has the
same modes as the original file. It is useful for maintaining multiple
copies of a file in many places at once without using up storage for the
"copies''; instead, a link "points'' to the original copy."
A simple test for any backup scheme would be the following:
1) create a text file called "orig.txt" and put some text into it.
2) make a hard link of the file from terminal, using:
You can edit link.txt, and observe that the original file orig.txt gets
modified (since link.txt is really a hard link that points back to
3) backup both files, and then restore.
4) edit link.txt, and add some new text to it. Now check orig.txt. Has it
been updated with the new text? If yes, the link was properly backed up.
If no, the backup failed to properly handle the link.
If anyone using this software sees can test this, let me know.
(The First reader report from 11/16/2001 follows)
As I am writing this in X, the new BackupToolkit (v3.0.2 for X) is
churning away in the background backing up and compressing my data to a
DVD. So far, so good. The speed is nice and the interface is reasonably
clean even though the execution and features are not up to the
Retrospect standard; but at least there is a viable backup solution for
The user interface does not take advantage of the dynamic capability of
dock icons, instead choosing to put a small button/progress meter just
below the clock in the right top corner of the screen when the app is in
the background. This progress meter disappears when the app is the
frontmost application. This really seems kludgy and a duplication of the
dock and its capabilities. Perhaps they rushed out with a functional
product knowing that X users were looking for some viable backup
alternative in the absence of Retrospect?
I have not had the opportunity to try any other features other than the
initial backup, but when I get this completed I will try to do restores
on data and determine if it maintains the user access settings etc, that
seems to be the sore spot for the other X backup applications.
In addition, it's nice to start seeing the power of X and
multiprocessing/multithreading. I have been running the backup, surfing
the web, writing emails, and downloading and watching the new Star Wars
trailer, all without a skip or a hitch. There are times that the
processor meter pegs both CPUs, but even then there is no loss in
usability in any of the programs.
The system I am currently running is a DP800, 1.5GB, 100GB WD Special
Edition, 60GB WD, GeForce3, Cinema Display. Running X 10.1.1 5M28.
I asked Derek if he downloaded v3.02, since a reader wrote that his download last night was version 2.2. (See earlier news item below).
The download worked correctly for me. According to my receipt, I
purchased/downloaded it at 2:46 cdt.
Well, it certainly helps to automate backups, but it is nowhere near the
functionality that Retrospect has. Its greatest flaw, in my opinion, is
that it has no capability to automate backup to multiple removable media
volumes. For example, Retrospect allows you to specify a "set" of
cd-roms to back up to, and when one cd-rom is full, it simply ejects the
full one and requests a new blank piece of media. Once inserted,
Retrospect continue on it's merry way.
Backup Toolkit is far more rudimentary in its handling of this kind of
situation. In an incremental backup situation (in which a complete
backup is made and subsequent backups only do changed files), Backup
Toolkit really only allows you to specify that you would like it to
partition the results of a backup via a chunk of space, i.e. 600 for
cd-roms, 4000 for dvd roms, etc. However, this will only create folders
and backup the files to a folder of that size on another hard drive. It
is your task to then take each of those folders and utilize Apples built
in cdrom burner or Toast to burn each of those different pieces of
media. Additionally, it is your task to then create an alias of that
pice of media and place it in a special aliases folder within the Backup
Toolkit folder in order for the software to automatically ask you to
insert those volumes upon a later restore. This is definitely not an
eloquent solution and certainly will not work for an automated
environment (especially servers.)
I'm not sure how valuable this software will be to me long term. In my
mind it is simply a stopgap solution until Retrospect is ready to go for
Tips/Guide on Backing Up OS X Volumes: In reply to this article (feedback on FWB's backup for OS X), a reader sent comments on a cheaper way to backup OS X disks. (see updated comments below this post)
From what I understand, while FWB Backup Toolkit can back your files up in
Mac OS X, when you want to perform a _real_ backup--restorable, like backups
have been in the past--you're left standing in the wind. (Perhaps Retrospect
for X will be able to do this, whenever the hell it's released.) At any
rate, Backup Toolkit is useless, really, for those looking to create backups
of OS X that can be restored and used without having to reinstall the OS.
But all is not lost, as Apple has kindly provided us with a solution. Using
Disk Copy and Apple Software Restore (or some Terminal scripting), your X
volume can be archived for restoration. Check out Mike Bombich's OS X site
I'm trying to spread the word about X backups, since many people out there
are out in the cold. Spread the word!
Later updated comments:
A while ago, I submitted the last comment on this page. A month ago, I
removed the PDF from my website, and a few people have e-mailed me about it.
Here's the response I've been giving:
"After discovering--the hard way--Apple Software Restore's 4-GB limit on
disk image configurations, I removed the PDF completely.
I can recommend Mike Bombich's Carbon Copy Cloner utility for X backup
stuff. [Carbon Copy Cloner is available at http://www.bombich.com/software/ccc.html-Mike] I _literally_ just used it 30 minutes ago to restore my PowerBook's
HD from a 3-day-old backup. Microsoft decided to hose my drive in ways I
thought impossible, so I restored a drive backup from my FireWire drive. All
I had to do was re-bless my X and 9 system folders in Terminal (which CCC
was supposed to have done, but didn't [I think this is fixed in the latest
version of Carbon Copy Cloner-Mike).
Sorry for any incovenience.
Manually using the ditto command (with the -rsrc switch) in conjunction with
the bless command, backing up and restoring your X drive is possible.
Bombich's utility automates this process, though, so I think most users will
find it more appealing.
The utilities (CCC and ditto) are quite awesome, especially for being part
of the OS itself: I was able to boot from my backup and perform a complete
restoration of about 7 GB of data in a matter of minutes. Very impressive.
(Ditto is the fastest thing since dual-GHz G4s, and Apple's core FireWire
I/O support is very slick.)
I'm happy to address any concerns people may have on this topic.
Apple Product Professional
Apple Certified Service Technician
Capitol Mac Consultants
(804) 358-3100 - http://www.capitolmac.com/
Update: On 5/7/2002 Mike again wrote that he's posted a
PDF file again that some might find useful.
"A while back, I wrote a crappy PDF that explained how you could back up a
Mac OS X disk with Disk Copy and Apple Software Restore. Soon after I wrote
the PDF, I found out about a nasty disk image size limit ASR had, and
quickly removed it [the PDF]. Well, I'm still getting e-mails about it,
mostly from people hitting 404 errors when looking for it. So I did
something about it: I made a new guide.
It's not that great, but it's free. Someone might find it useful. Maybe. I
don't know. It covers a lot more than just "do this, and this, and this to
back up stuff". I try to explain why certain things are done certain ways.
It's available for download at:
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